Blog

WHEN DARTH VADER TARGETED ONE OF MY FAVORITE CLIENTS

(And, the Hilarious Lawyer Letter I Never Got to Send) One of the things I love best about my work is working for creative inventors and firearms business owners.  One of the things I love least is dealing with some of the “other” lawyers out there. The saga begins when one of my oldest and favorite clients had me file a trademark application to secure the trademark DEATH STAR for their star-shaped moving steel target. The "Star of Death"? About that trademark pick: Every time a client suggests a trademark that makes people think of another business, the  [...]

WHEN IT’S SAFE TO LIFT THE SKIRT

The Surprises and Secrets of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) Photo Credit: Oleg Volk In the patent world, one of the most important, yet surprisingly overrated, issues is secrecy. Yet while it’s a needless fear for many, it can make sense to protect yourself when you have to trust someone else with your secrets.  An NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) is also known as a “confidentiality agreement” (CA), “confidential disclosure agreement” (CDA), “proprietary information agreement” (PIA), or “secrecy agreement” (SA).  They’re all the same  [...]

THE MOTHER OF ALL FACTORY TOURS

Plus, Will Elon Buy a Patent from Me? In my work over the decades, I’ve visited the factories of many clients.  The smell of machine oil takes me back to my engineering school shop class where I learned to operate Bridgeports and Hardinges.  I even learned how to use a newfangled computer to program a milling machine so I didn’t need to turn the wheels manually. Last month, I took an especially unforgettable factory tour.  Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas is the largest building in the world (based on floor space square footage – Boeing has a larger volume  [...]

HOW TO PICK BRAND NAMES THAT MAKE YOUR BUSINESS MORE VALUABLE

It’s a story I have told for years: I had lunch with a new client.  He has some great technology, and a strong foundation for a new business.  And I faced the too-frequent dilemma when confronted by a lousy trademark he wanted to adopt. Do I tell him my actual opinion, or do I salute and earn the reward of helping him register a weak brand name that will impair the prospects for his success? He had come to me because he knew he was going to have to drop an old brand as he expanded, because there were too many conflicts out there, and he had never had it searched  [...]

SHOT Show Bar Exam?

Gossip, Tips, and Hacks After My 22nd SHOT-iversary Serenity on the 10th Floor? This was easily the best SHOT Show ever.  After 22 years, I’m starting to get the hang of it.  (Confession:  I now count my SHOT Show attendance years to include the Covid year and the skipped mask mandate year.  My first was 2002, and that’s where I count from.) My show is different from most.  I don’t exhibit. I had no scheduled appointments.  No dinner reservations.  And I’m solo.  But I have a great team at home that prepared me.  They actually gave me a list of  [...]

My Reply to The Guy Who Asked: “WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU AND NOT LEGALZOOM?”

Most people aren’t afraid to invest in what they need, but few people want to learn later that they overpaid, or didn’t get a good value.  So even though it’s the first time I’ve been asked the question, I can understand why a careful entrepreneur would ask it.  He’s simply asking: “Please tell me why I’m not a sucker to pay you what seems like ten times what LegalZoom is charging.” LegalZoom is the big web-based law firm, and they probably file more trademarks per year than any other firm.  They’re so big they’ve been buying up other companies,  [...]